Microsoft Successfully Concludes Acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Integrating Call of Duty into the Xbox Ecosystem


Microsoft has successfully completed its monumental $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the renowned publisher behind titles such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo. The eagerly awaited acquisition, which was 20 months in the making, faced huge regulatory hurdles in both the UK and the US. In the end, Microsoft prevailed, defeating the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in US federal court and modifying the deal to satisfy the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK.

Read More: Google Search Bar Empowers You to Create AI-Generated Images

Xbox boss Phil Spencer expressed his excitement, saying: “We love gaming. We play games, we make games, and we know firsthand how much gaming means to all of us, individually and collectively, as a community. And today we officially welcome Activision Blizzard and their teams to Xbox. As one team, we will learn, innovate, and continue to deliver on our promise to bring the joy and community of gaming to more people. We will do so in a culture that strives to empower everyone to do their best work, where all people are welcome, and focused on our ongoing commitment to games for everyone.”

The acquisition is Microsoft’s biggest to date, surpassing the $26 billion it spent to acquire LinkedIn in 2016 and $7.5 billion for Bethesda in 2021. It’s also a big leap into the gaming industry, making Microsoft “the third largest gaming company by sales”. for Tencent and Sony.”

Following the acquisition, Microsoft plans to incorporate many of Activision Blizzard’s popular titles into Xbox Game Pass. Spencer mentioned, “Today we’re starting work on bringing beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms. We’ll be sharing more about when you can expect to play in the coming months.”

However, it’s worth noting that some titles like Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo IV won’t be coming to Xbox Game Pass this year, as Activision Blizzard has clarified. Microsoft has not released an update on Xbox Game Pass subscriber numbers since the original announcement in January 2022, when it announced 25 million subscribers.

On the Blizzard side alone, Microsoft is adding more than nine game studios to its Xbox Game Studios, and on the King side of the acquisition, game studios are located in more than 11 locations dedicated to mobile gaming. Microsoft has now also become a publishing powerhouse with more than 8,500 Activision employees joining its ranks.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in place to facilitate the transition through the end of 2023. In an email to Activision Blizzard employees, he said: “I have long said that I am fully committed to helping with the transition. Phil has asked me to stay on in the capacity of CEO of ABK, he reported to him and we agreed that I will do so until the end of 2023. We both look forward to working together to integrate our teams and players smoothly.”

The road to completing this acquisition was full of challenges. The CMA initially opposed the deal in the UK over concerns about cloud services, and the FTC also sought to block it in the US. After the FTC failed to secure a preliminary injunction against Microsoft, both the CMA and Microsoft reached an agreement to suspend their legal battles and negotiate terms related to cloud gaming rights.